48 Hours in Bath, Phippsburg + Georgetown
With Bath’s seaside-town charm, Phippsburg’s natural beauty, and Georgetown’s working waterfront, this coastal region lets visitors enjoy a true Maine lifestyle.
Lobster on the pier
The sky is a pink and blue canvas as I arrive in Phippsburg and find the 1774 Inn looking out on the Kennebec River. Innkeeper Stuart DeVan greets me with a handshake and an extensive tour of the historic property. The inn is named for the year James McCobb, an Irish sea captain, built the Georgian-style mansion, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. My room at the end of the second-floor hallway is named after the third owner of the home and one of the most successful shipbuilders of his time, Charles V. Minott. My window, which is covered in French-inspired drapery, looks out onto one of the oldest trees in Phippsburg. I notice that the swaying branches of the ancient beauty are beginning to pick up speed, and I wrap a sweater around my shoulders before heading off to dinner in Georgetown.
The crowd in the parking lot at Five Islands Lobster Co. is thinning as I arrive to meet my father on the pier. He has placed an order for two of the biggest soft-shell lobsters, one pound of steamers, two ears of corn, and three red potatoes. He says it doesn’t get any more Maine than this, and as we sit at one of the bright red picnic tables, sipping on Coronas and gazing out over the Sheepscot River, I can’t help but agree.
Friendly meals and colorful markets
The sun peeks through the curtains and follows me downstairs to the dining room, where I meet my boyfriend and the other guests gathered for breakfast at the communal farm table. Sarah DeVan, Stuart’s wife, is a chef who has cooked in Michelin-starred restaurants across the globe. She finds inspiration for each meal from the local farmers’ market or her garden. This morning we enjoy homemade yogurt and granola topped with hand-picked blueberries, a glass of fresh watermelon juice, pour-over coffee, freshly baked chive scones, and Dutch babies served hot in the pan.
After breakfast, we walk through the Bath Farmers’ Market. The colorful produce stands and bouquets of bright flowers make leaving with an empty basket impossible. I choose a wild sunflower bouquet from Goranson Farm in Dresden to bring back to the inn.
Classic fare with unbeatable views
There are only a few road signs leading to the Bates-Morse Mountain Conservation Area. After taking a gander at the trail map, we begin our 3.8-mile hike across a river and up the mountain. Along the trail, we stop to fill our palms with wild blueberries and to photograph 180-degree views of ocean wetlands and sprawling coastline. At one point the air cools and I hear the faint hum of the ocean: Seawall Beach is near. During our hike back, the rain sets in. Without raincoats, we have to rely on the treetops for coverage.
We drive to Spinney’s Restaurant on Popham Beach. The waitress sets our drinks of pinot grigio and Shipyard Summer Ale on a table overlooking the beach. Our laminated placemats have an eight-step diagram of how to eat a lobster “Spinney’s style.” We order a side of fried clams, a broiled haddock sandwich, a large garden salad, fried calamari, lightly breaded onion rings, coleslaw, and two pickles. It is classic Maine fare with unbeatable views. After lunch, we walk along the beach to Fort Popham, where we read a bit of history and peek through cannon holes.
Our next stop is the Bath Brewing Company, which sits near the banks of the Kennebec River and overlooks Front Street. We enjoy local beer and wine and people-watch from the street-side bar.
Back in the 1774 Inn’s dining room, we are surrounded by candles and the soft glow of the moon. Sarah, as chef, and Stuart, as sommelier, offer a seven-course tasting menu with wine pairings. Each course features vegetables and protein from the kitchen garden or recent foraging or fishing trips. Highlights include Sarah’s garlic scape pesto, a fire-roasted tomato gazpacho shooter, hand-crafted pappardelle pasta paired with black trumpet mushrooms foraged earlier today, a celery root puree topped with lobster that Stuart trapped yesterday, fresh honeycomb chunks, and homemade ice cream with fresh strawberries.
Shop-hopping along Front Street
Four curious alpacas from Thistle Dew Alpaca Farm crane their necks in curiosity as I drive past on my way to Bath. Nearby is Anna B’s Antiques, where collectable items such as old maps and Raggedy Ann dolls decorate the shelves. On the deck at Mae’s Cafe and Bakery my mother and I enjoy breakfast sandwiches on toasted wheat bread, plus yogurt, granola, and a grilled blueberry muffin.
Café Crème, one of Bath’s coffee shops, is only a three-minute walk from Mae’s. We order teas before shopping along Front Street. We visit The New Place Market, where owner Lucy Comaskey has just finished her second week of business. The market sells beer, wine, cheese, meats, and other grocery items. At Bohemian Rose, a clothing store that aims to help women find confidence with its products, my mother finds a new pink summer dress.
A taste of local flavor
As the humidity rises, we make our way back to Phippsburg and down to a local swimming hole. On the side of Parker Head Road is a rock wall and two ladders that lead to a freshwater inlet. We swim with the neighborhood kids and two black Russian terriers—each eager to find relief from the midday heat. After we dry off in the sun, we visit North Creek Farm and Market just up the road for cold fruit smoothies and a shaded place to sit and admire the farm animals and wild gardens.
Delightful dining and walks along the beach
In downtown Bath, we find Dot’s Ice Cream Shop and share a scoop of coffee toffee crunch rolled in chocolate sprinkles before walking to dinner at Salt Pine Social. Picnic tables grace the restaurant’s outdoor patio, and large sunflowers decorate each windowsill. Sitting outside, we indulge in oysters from West Bath, a Lebanese tomato salad, za’atar-marinated grilled T-bone lamb chops, and grilled vegetable skewers.
The sun begins to set along the Kennebec, giving us our cue to leave for Georgetown’s Reid State Park. Once on Mile Beach, we settle on a log of driftwood and watch the rippling tide. As the sky slowly shifts from rose to violet, we are overcome by a familiar tranquility—the same peaceful tenor that greeted me only 48 hours ago.